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Al Qaeda Attack in Mali

Maili is a country in West Africa, where the legendary city of Timbuktu is located. It is a landlocked country which was formerly a French colony. This morning, at least 2 Al Qaeda Terrorists attacked the Radisson Hotel in Bamako, the capital city, and at one point held 170 hostages. Mali Special Forces, assisted by UN Troops have stormed the hotel, and it now appears that at least 27 people were executed by the attackers. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This appears to be a “me too” attack by Al Qaeda such as not to lose status against ISIS with their attack in Paris last week.

Jihadis Take More Than 100 Hostage at Hotel in Former French Colony of Mali

More than 100 people were reportedly taken hostage and at least three killed Friday by gunmen at a Radisson hotel in the city of Bamako, the capital of Mali, in another apparent jihadi attack directed at France. French troops were involved in operations against Islamic radicals in Mali, a former French colony, as recently as last year. A number of hostages have reportedly been freed by Malian forces, but the entire hotel has not yet been secured. From CNN:

Security forces have begun a counter-assault on a Malian hotel where gunmen took more than 100 hostages Friday morning, French President Francois Hollande told reporters in Paris on Friday afternoon.

The situation began around 7 a.m. at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, when two or three attackers stormed the hotel, firing guns and initially taking about 170 people hostage, officials said … By noon, the country’s state broadcaster, ORTM, reported that at least 80 of the hostages had been freed.

Hollande happens to have mentioned French counterterrorism activities in Mali in a public statement Thursday; in 2013 and 2014 French forces helped retake areas in the country’s north that had been seized by al Qaida–allied Islamic militants. Reuterssays that the gunmen who attacked the Radisson shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they stormed the hotel and that some guests who were able to recite verses of the Koran were allowed to go free.

Latest update off the wire –

The UN peacekeepers saw 12 corpses in the basement of the hotel and another 15 on the second floor, the UN official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He added that the UN troops were still helping Malian authorities search the hotel.

And this from Jason Burke of the Guardian (UK)

If al-Mourabitoun, an al-Qaida-linked group, is indeed responsible for the Bamako siege it is a stunning example of how the deep rivalry between al-Qaida, founded in 1987 or 1988, and IS, founded in 2014, is responsible for a wave of violence across much of the Islamic world and, as we found out, last week, beyond.

IS broke away from al-Qaida and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, detest each other.

The world of militancy is is riven with splits and doctrinal differences, personal animosities and grudges. There is also fierce competition for recruits, donations and attention.

Security services have long been aware of how violence can escalate when groups divide or fragment and the factions battle for supremacy, each trying to outdo the other. This may well be what has driven the timing of this new operation, the first high-profile such attack by al-Qaida for some time. The group is trying to steal back some of the limelight and dominate the news agenda again, as it once did so often and so effectively.

What appears clear is that the Paris attacks have intensified and accelerated a chaotic, dynamic reordering of alliances and capabilities within the broader landscape of Islamic militancy, meaning that an already hugely complex threat is increasingly difficult for security services to read.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in International Terrorism

 

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